California’s Bet on Sportsbooks: Prospects of Legalizing Sports Betting

California Legal Sports Betting Overview

Sports betting in California is currently illegal according to the state’s constitution. This has been further solidified by the failure of two ballot measures, propositions 26 and 27, during a public vote in November 2022. With only 30% and 16% support respectively from the approximately 4.6 million voters, both propositions faced opposition.

Proposition 26:

Proposition 26, which was supported by California’s tribes operating 66 casinos in the state, aimed to legalize retail sports betting. This proposition would have allowed each tribal casino and all five racetracks in the state to launch their own retail sportsbooks. However, it faced opposition from operators of California’s card rooms, resulting in its failure.

Proposition 27:

Proposition 27, on the other hand, sought to legalize online sports betting and had the backing of major US sports betting companies such as BetMGM, DraftKings, and FanDuel. Proposition 27 had language that could have coexisted with Proposition 26 if both initiatives passed. However, Proposition 26 explicitly excluded online gambling from California for a period of five years. The failure of both propositions means that the earliest potential launch of sports betting in California would be in 2024, pending a constitutional amendment and another public vote.

While the current legal status of sports betting in California is restrictive, there is ongoing debate around the future of sports betting legislation in the state. This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide to sports betting in California, covering the current legal status, the potential for future legalization, and the best Golden State teams for wagering.

California Online Sportsbooks Summary

Currently, all forms of sports betting, including online wagering, are illegal in California. To legalize sports betting in the state, a constitutional amendment will most likely need to be passed through a public ballot. Proposition 27, which intended to legalize online sports betting with a 10% tax on sports betting revenue, failed on the November 2022 ballot.

Despite the current restrictions on online sports betting, there are other gambling options available for Californians. Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) games and online horse race betting are legal and accessible. Additionally, neighboring states such as Arizona, Nevada, and Oregon offer legal sports betting options for those who wish to travel or use online platforms available in those states.

NFL Betting Guide

For NFL enthusiasts, this comprehensive betting guide provides access to live markets, schedules, tips, and scores, allowing bettors to stay updated on all things NFL and make informed wagers.

NBA Betting Guide

When it comes to NBA betting, this guide offers valuable insights, top sportsbook recommendations, and expert tips, enabling fans to enhance their NBA betting experience and make successful wagers.

MLB Betting Guide

Baseball fans can take advantage of this MLB betting guide, which covers everything from odds and lines to prop bets and futures. Whether you’re a seasoned bettor or new to MLB betting, this guide provides the necessary information for successful wagering.

How Does California Compare to Other States?

Market Coverage

California has a rich sporting pedigree, but due to the current restrictions, bettors in the state are missing out on the opportunity to wager on their favorite teams. When comparing California to its neighboring states, such as Arizona, Nevada, and Oregon, it becomes apparent that Golden State players are at a disadvantage. These neighboring states already offer a wide range of sports betting options, including renowned brands like BetMGM, DraftKings, and FanDuel. Bettors in these states have access to a diverse array of sports markets, including NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, NASCAR, golf, soccer, and tennis.

Competitive Odds & Prices

While the top sportsbooks in the US, such as WynnBET and Barstool Sportsbook, supported Proposition 27, allowing them to potentially enter the California market, the failure of the proposition means bettors in the state are currently unable to access their generous odds. These sportsbooks operate in multiple states and offer some of the most favorable odds available in the US.

Gambling Revenue

Given California’s large population, being the largest state in the US with nearly 40 million residents, the potential for gambling revenue from legal sports betting is significant. The proposed online sports betting laws included a 10% tax on sports betting revenue, with 85% allocated to address homelessness in California and the remaining 15% directed towards tribes not involved in online sports betting. Comparisons can be drawn to other states with a similar tax rate, such as Colorado, West Virginia, Wyoming, and the District of Columbia. The revenue generated from online sports betting could greatly benefit California, especially when considering the success of other states’ online sports betting ventures.

Betting Taxes

If sports betting becomes legal in California, bettors will be required to pay taxes on their winnings. All betting winnings must be declared to the IRS, and if the winnings exceed $600, a W-2G form must be completed. Sportsbooks may also withhold up to 25% of winnings as tax, and individuals must include their sports betting winnings in their state income tax returns, which range from 1% to 12.3% in California.

How to Place a Bet in California

Although sports betting is not currently legal in California, online horse racing wagering is allowed. To place online horse racing bets, the following steps can be followed:

  1. Research the horse race, including form, jockeys, and weather conditions, to make an informed wager.
  2. Choose an online horse racing betting site that is available in California, such as TwinSpires or TVG.
  3. Register with the site by providing the required personal information for account security and age verification.
  4. Make your first deposit by selecting a payment method offered by the betting site.
  5. Explore the site’s horse racing betting markets and select a race to place your bet on.
  6. Add the chosen race to your bet slip, specify your stake, and place your wager.
  7. If you win, follow the instructions provided by the betting site to withdraw your winnings.

Banking Methods Available in California

While online sports betting is currently illegal in California, if and when it becomes legalized, sportsbooks are likely to accept various payment methods. Popular options may include:

  • Visa and Mastercard: Credit and debit cards are commonly accepted payment methods at online sportsbooks.
  • PayPal and Skrill: E-wallets provide a convenient way to fund your betting account securely.
  • PayNearMe: Many betting sites accept PayNearMe prepaid cards, which can be topped up at retail locations like 7-Eleven and Walmart.
  • Online banking: Some betting sites may offer the option to make deposits directly from your bank account.
  • Play+ prepaid card: This payment method is commonly used by top US sports betting brands and offers a seamless and secure way to fund your account.

It’s important to note that these payment methods are speculative and subject to change based on future developments and specific sportsbook policies.

Who is Not Eligible to Bet in California?

While sports betting remains illegal in California, it is expected that certain individuals will be restricted from participating in legal sports betting activities once regulated. These restrictions may include:

  • Athletes, coaches, or members of any professional sports team
  • Referees for professional and college sports leagues
  • Individuals with the professional authority to influence players
  • Individuals with a stake in a sports team
  • Individuals employed by the leagues that create rules for sports
  • Individuals employed by organizations with licensing from the California Gambling Control Commission
  • Individuals with non-public information about a sports team
  • Individuals prohibited from betting on a state or federal level
  • Individuals that have voluntarily excluded themselves from gambling activities via a self-exclusion program

These restrictions aim to maintain the integrity of sports betting and prevent conflicts of interest or unfair advantages in the betting process.

Latest California Sports Betting Updates

As of the latest updates, online and retail sports betting remain illegal in California. The failure of Propositions 26 and 27 on the November 2022 ballot further solidified the current restrictions on sports betting in the state. Until sports betting is legalized, Californians have the option to participate in Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) games, online horse race betting, or visit neighboring states with legal sports betting options.

Current Sports Betting Status in California

Both online and retail sports betting are currently illegal in California. For any changes to be made, the public needs to vote on whether they accept sports betting, and subsequently, lawmakers would need to draft and pass legislation accordingly. The failure of Propositions 26 and 27 means that sports betting is unlikely to be legalized in the near future.

Timeline for Sports Betting in California

Here is an overview of the timeline and key events in the efforts to legalize sports betting in California:

  • November 10, 2022: Californian voters reject both Proposition 26 and Proposition 27, signaling a setback to the potential launch of sports betting in 2024.
  • October 31, 2022: Governor Gavin Newsom urges voters to select ‘No’ on Prop 27 due to potential negative impact on Indian tribes in the state.
  • August 12, 2022: The MLB officially announces its support of Proposition 27, emphasizing its strong integrity provisions.
  • July 11, 2022: The California Democratic Party votes to oppose Proposition 27 and remain neutral on Proposition 26.
  • July 1, 2022: The California Secretary of State, Dr. Shirley Weber, announces her support of Proposition 27.
  • June 29, 2022: Civil rights activist Dolores Huerta announces her support for Proposition 26 and criticizes Proposition 27 for being “a direct attack on Indian self-sufficiency”.
  • May 18, 2022: Initiative 21-0039A1 is withdrawn after failing to receive enough votes to reach the ballot.
  • May 13, 2022: Initiative 21-0017 gains sufficient signatures to be added to the November 2022 ballot as Proposition 27.

It’s worth noting that the timeline and events mentioned above provide an overview of the recent developments and are subject to change. The path to legalizing sports betting in California may involve further proposals, regulatory hearings, and public votes, which can extend the timeline.

California Sports Betting Background

Efforts to legalize sports betting in California date back several years, with proposed legislation and failed initiatives. Assemblyman Adam Gray and Senator Bill Dodd introduced ACA-16 and SCA-6 in 2019 as constitutional amendments to allow sports betting. However, these proposals did not gain sufficient support.

In 2022, Proposition 26 and Proposition 27 aimed to address different aspects of sports betting legalization. Proposition 26 sought to legalize retail sports betting, while Proposition 27 aimed to legalize online sports betting. However, the failure of both propositions and the ongoing disagreements between tribal operators, card rooms, and online betting companies indicate a complex road ahead for legalizing sports betting in California.

Future of California Sports Betting

The future of sports betting in California is uncertain following the failure of Propositions 26 and 27 in the 2022 ballot. A new public vote on the matter is not expected until at least 2024. Even if sports betting legislation is eventually passed, there will likely be a considerable delay before market launch due to the need for licensing processes, gaming compacts with tribes, and potential legal challenges.

In the event that sports betting is legalized, it will be crucial to establish effective regulatory frameworks, responsible gambling measures, and taxation systems to ensure a safe and successful sports betting industry in California.

Online Sportsbooks

While online sports betting is currently illegal in California, there are reputable online sportsbooks available in other states where sports betting is legal. These online sportsbooks offer a wide range of betting options, competitive odds, and attractive promotions. Some popular online sportsbooks include BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel, and Caesars.

Odds Calculator

If you’re interested in calculating potential winnings from your bets, an odds calculator can be a valuable tool. By entering your stake and the odds, the calculator will provide you with an estimated potential profit from your wager.

Betting Lines

To make informed betting decisions, it’s crucial to understand betting lines and how they work across various sports. This guide provides insights into using betting lines effectively, helping you navigate the options available in major league sports.

California Sports Betting Locations

Currently, sports betting is not available in California, and there are no authorized sports betting locations, whether online or retail. However, neighboring states like Nevada, Oregon, and Arizona offer legal sports betting options either in-person or through online platforms.

California Lottery Locations

The California State Lottery was legalized in 1984 and offers various lottery games. However, online lottery games are currently not available in California. Lottery tickets can be purchased from authorized retail locations distributed across the state.

Off-Track and Stadium Betting Locations

While sports betting at sports venues and stadiums is not addressed by the current propositions, retail sportsbooks may potentially open at horse racetracks if sports betting is legalized. For horse racing enthusiasts, California offers racetracks and off-track betting facilities where bets can be placed legally. Some off-track betting facilities across the state include:

Location Address Phone Number
Alameda County Fairgrounds 4501 Pleasanton Avenue, Pleasanton, CA 94566 (925) 426-7600
Big Fresno Fair Racing 1121 S. Chance Avenue, Fresno, CA 93702 (559) 650-3247
California Exposition and State Fair (CalExpo) 1600 Exposition Boulevard, Sacramento, CA 95815 (916) 263-3000
Del Mar Racing 2260 Jimmy Durante Boulevard, Del Mar, CA 92014 (858) 755-1141
Golden Gate Fields 1100 Eastshore Highway, Berkeley, CA 94710 (510) 559-7300
Humboldt County Fairgrounds 1250 5th Street, Ferndale, CA 95536 (707) 786-9511
Los Alamitos Race Course 4961 Katella Avenue, Cypress, CA 90720 (714) 820-2800
Santa Anita Race Track 285 W. Huntington Drive, Arcadia, CA 91007 (626) 574-7223
Sonoma County Event Center at the Fairgrounds 1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95404 (707) 545-4200

Teams to Bet on in California

Professional Sports

California boasts a variety of professional sports teams, offering exciting opportunities for sports betting if and when it becomes legal in the state:

  • Los Angeles Chargers: NFL team, playing in the AFC West Division.
  • Los Angeles Rams: NFL team, playing in the NFC West Division.
  • San Francisco 49ers: NFL team, playing in the NFC West Division.
  • Golden State Warriors: NBA team, known for their success in the 2010s.
  • LA Clippers: NBA team based in Los Angeles with a growing fanbase.
  • LA Lakers: NBA team with a rich history and multiple championship wins.
  • Sacramento Kings: NBA team, notable for their dedicated fanbase.
  • Los Angeles Angels: MLB team competing in the American League West Division.
  • Los Angeles Dodgers: MLB team with a record number of National League pennants and World Series wins.
  • Oakland Athletics: MLB team with a history of success, especially in the 1970s.
  • San Diego Padres: MLB team with a passionate fanbase, seeking their first World Series win.
  • Anaheim Ducks: NHL team based in Anaheim, known for winning the Stanley Cup in 2007.
  • Los Angeles Kings: NHL team with two Stanley Cup wins in 2012 and 2014.
  • San Jose Sharks: NHL team that made their first Stanley Cup appearance in 2016.

College Sports

California is home to numerous colleges with notable teams in various sports. While sports betting on college events is not always permitted, being familiar with these college teams can enhance fan experiences:

  • California Baptist Lancers: Competing in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC), California Baptist University is transitioning to Division I and becoming eligible for postseason competitions.
  • Cal Poly Mustangs: Representing California Polytechnic State University, the Mustangs compete in the Big West Conference and have a remarkable history of success in Division II.
  • Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunners: The Roadrunners compete in the Big West Conference and represent California State University, Bakersfield.
  • Cal State Fullerton Titans: Known for their success in baseball and softball, the Titans compete in the Big West Conference.
  • Cal State Northridge Matadors: Representing California State University, Northridge, the Matadors compete in the Big West Conference.
  • California Golden Bears: Representing the University of California, Berkeley, the Golden Bears play in the Pac-12 Conference and have seen success in a variety of sports.
  • Fresno State Bulldogs: Competing in the Mountain West Conference, the Bulldogs have had success in various sports, including football and baseball.
  • Long Beach State: Representing California State University, Long Beach, the Long Beach State teams are known as the Beach and have a stellar volleyball program.
  • Loyola Marymount Lions: Competing in the West Coast Conference, the Lions are particularly known for their basketball team’s high-scoring style of play.
  • Pacific Tigers: Representing the University of the Pacific, the Tigers compete in the West Coast Conference and have had success in women’s volleyball.
  • Pepperdine Waves: The Waves compete in the West Coast Conference and have notable successes in baseball and men’s and women’s volleyball.
  • Sacramento Stars Hornets: Representing California State University, Sacramento, the Hornets compete in the Big Sky Conference and have a strong football program.
  • Saint Mary’s Gaels: Competing in the West Coast Conference, the Gaels have a successful men’s basketball team and have produced notable NBA players.

California Responsible Gambling Resources

For individuals seeking support and resources to address problem gambling, California provides several organizations and helplines:

  • California National Council for Problem Gambling: Offers links to California problem gambling resources, a 24/7 live chat feature, and a helpline accessible at (800) 522-4700.
  • California Council on Problem Gambling: Provides statewide support for individuals and families affected by problem gambling, offering various services such as helplines, counseling, and treatment facilities. They can be reached at (714) 765-5804.
  • Gamblers Anonymous: Facilitates meetings for problem gamblers to share their experiences and offers a comprehensive treatment program. They can be contacted at (855) 222-5542.

Additionally, the California Gambling Commission currently operates a self-exclusion program for card rooms in the state. If online sports betting is legalized, a statewide self-exclusion program will become mandatory, allowing individuals to exclude themselves from gambling activities. Sportsbooks will also be expected to implement measures such as bankroll management and time-outs to promote responsible gambling practices.

Who Oversees Sports Betting in California?

If sports betting is legalized in California, the California Gambling Control Commission will have oversight authority. The commission will be responsible for regulating and licensing both retail and online sportsbooks, ensuring compliance with established regulations and maintaining the integrity of sports betting in the state. For retail sportsbooks operated by tribal casinos, tribal authorities will also have a role in regulating their operations, while the California Gambling Control Commission will oversee the overall framework.

It is important to note that the information provided in this article regarding legal matters, future developments, and sportsbook availability is based on the current status of sports betting in California and is subject to change as legislation evolves and new developments emerge in the state.


While the current legal status of sports betting in California restricts access to betting options, the potential for future legalization presents exciting opportunities for sports bettors. The failure of recent ballot measures, Propositions 26 and 27, has delayed the launch of sports betting until at least 2024. However, if legalized, sports betting in California could unlock a thriving market for spectators and bettors alike, fueled by the state’s passion for sports and its large population.


  1. Is betting legal in California?
  2. No, sports betting is currently illegal in California. Changes to the legal status would require a public vote and subsequent legislation.

  3. Who would govern sports betting in California?
  4. The California Gambling Control Commission would oversee sports betting in the state, including licensing and regulatory functions.

  5. How old would you have to be to bet in California?
  6. The suggested legal betting age for sports betting in recent propositions is 21, aligning with neighboring states and existing laws for certain gambling activities.

  7. When will sports betting launch in California?
  8. Based on recent developments, it is unlikely that sports betting will launch in California before 2024, pending changes to legislation and potential legal challenges.

  9. Where will I be able to bet on sports in California?
  10. If sports betting is legalized, retail sportsbooks could be accessible at tribal casinos and racetracks. For online sports betting, bettors would be able to wager from anywhere within the state with an internet connection.

Please note that the information provided in this article is based on the current legal status of sports betting in California and is subject to change as legislation evolves.

Doug I. Jones

Doug I. Jones

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